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Student Engagement Online: What Works and Why: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 40, Number 6

Student Engagement Online: What Works and Why: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 40, Number 6

Katrina A. Meyer (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-119-00076-1 December 2014 Jossey-Bass 144 Pages




What makes online learning engaging to students?

Engagement depends upon designing learning that is active and collaborative, authentic and experiential, constructive and transformative. While students and instructors can inadvertently act in several ways to decrease student engagement in online coursework, research indicates a range of options that have been proven to engage students in their online courses.

This report explores the learning theories, pedagogies, and active learning options that encourage student engagement, push them to think more deeply, and teach them how to learn. It guides instructors on how to evaluate the effectiveness of technological and software tools, and to evaluate and assess the activities, learning, and retention occurring in their online classes. Finally, it will help instructors find inspiration for engagement from the face-to-face settings that can be translated into the online environment.

This is the 6th issue of the 40th volume of the Jossey-Bass series ASHE Higher Education Report. Each monograph is the definitive analysis of a tough higher education issue, based on thorough research of pertinent literature and institutional experiences. Topics are identified by a national survey. Noted practitioners and scholars are then commissioned to write the reports, with experts providing critical reviews of each manuscript before publication.

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Executive Summary ix

Foreword xiii

Student Engagement in Online Learning: WhatWorks and Why 1

Overview 1

The Challenges 2

Definitions 5

The Basis for Student Engagement on Campus 6

Results From the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) 7

Importance of Online Learning 10

Relevance of Monograph 11

Organization of Monograph 12

Summary 14

Learning Theories and Student Engagement 15

Overview 15

Community of Inquiry 16

Constructivist Learning 26

Experiential Learning and Active Learning 28

Authentic Learning 28

Transformational Learning 29

Online Community 30

Cognitive Engagement 33

Transactional Distance Theory 34

Summary 35

Techniques for Student Engagement Online 37

Overview 37

Moore’s Interaction/Engagement Strategies 38

Online Discussions 41

Active or Authentic Pedagogies 44

Instructor Activities 46

Student Preparation and Skills 49

Use of Instructional Design 52

Multiple Paths 57

Use of Technologies and a Caution 58

Gender, Ethnicity, and Other Differences 60

Guides to Engagement Online 62

Research Needed 64

Summary 65

Effects From Student Engagement Online 67

Overview 67

Engagement and Student Learning 68

Engagement and Other Outcomes 71

Research Needed 72

Summary 72

Limits to Student Engagement 75

Overview 75

Characteristics of Students 75

Characteristics of Instruction 79

Research Needed 85

Summary 86

Next Steps 89

Overview 89

Theories to Use 89

Instructor, Know Your Students 91

Learn How to Learn 92

Be Clear About Educational Objectives 93

Some Lessons About Engagement Strategies 94

Instructor, Know Yourself 95

Help for Administrators 96

Future Research 98

Helpful Directions for the Future 100

Summary 101

References 105

Name Index 119

Subject Index 125

About the Author 129